The John Lyall Gates at the entrance to the Boleyn Ground

“Maggie Thatcher, can you hear me? Maggie Thatcher, I have a message for you: We have knocked England out of the World Cup in football. Maggie Thatcher, as they say in your language in the boxing bars round Madison Square Garden in New York: Your boys took a hell of a beating!” – Bjorge Lillelien (Norwegian football commentator – After Norway’s shock win over England 1981)


Many of the West Ham faithful will feel they’ve taken one hell of a beating too! However, this is not just a ninety minute debacle…this is over two years in the making and many cannot see an end to the malaise whilst the leaders at the top are still in post.


The circus from within the club continues, in fact the big top has just got a lot bigger with the ground swell of dissent from the many who have known better and from others who would see worse. All around the stadium on Saturday afternoon, thousands upon thousands of fans were shocked into silence as they witnessed fellow fans leaping onto the pitch to protest in defiance and hundreds more refusing to kneel at the feet of the longshanks upon their thrones. Whilst the team seemed spirited in the first half but failed to capitalise on chances, they folded like the house of cards as soon as the opposition poked at the foundations.

It has become a farce, if ever there was humour to be found! It is a comic strip of incompetence, deception and blunders from the very top to the field of play…and who is being blamed for this calamity? Yes, you’ve guessed it…the fans!

There is no doubt that fans have played their part for the Saturday show, but the question must be asked, what has driven the fans to act in this way? Once those in the ivory towers and in the bastions of broadcast and print media find those answers, then all can march along the road to justice. Justice being what the West Ham fans are looking for! What for? For the “Failed Ambitions”, the stadium fiasco, poor team performances, the lack of investment in transfers to fulfil promises and the confrontational and vilifying words uttered to distance owners from club supporters. It is heartbreaking! It is shameful and it is an absolute disgrace that this has been allowed to go on unnoticed for so long!


Whilst many seem willing to point fingers in wrong directions, many are also bewildered by what has occurred and are confounded about which path to take going forward. It surely cannot continue, albeit the club have asked for some form of truce until the end of the season. Regardless of private and public thoughts of goings on behind the scenes, the team need the fan’s unified support now more than ever…whether the FA will allow that in the coming weeks is yet to be determined.

Just as many fans have drawn the line in the sand and have rallied together to declare their will, so too must the players in every upcoming game. They cannot be distracted by the dissenting voices but they must acknowledge there is a force of will that is pleading for justice and for better days, both home and away.

It is down to David Moyes now and the coaching staff to set out their stall and come up with a plan, lead us not into temptation but deliver us from evil. He must find it within himself to charge his warriors and draw upon any inspirations that would give meaning to his verses. Whether it be William Wallace, Robert the Bruce or Rab C. Nesbitt…he needs to stand tall and be clear about what his players must do. He must review his formations and put players in familiar positions rather trying to shoehorn misfits into a dysfunctional system and above all he must shed those who would not show purpose and determination to fight for the cause.

As for the players, above all else they must apply blinkers to off the field antics and focus on each game at hand. Capitulation must not be the new buzz word, failure must not be entertained and only full commitment will suffice. They cannot guarantee results but they can, at the very least, deliver performances and resilience to any offenders. If 90% of the players can show as much passion as Noble and Collins would show, then the battle is half won.

The fans, who have become so charged, anxious and detached, want nothing more than for the team to do their very best and can only pray that Floridian adventures have tanned the souls as well as recharged the batteries…why this could not have been achieved by breaking rocks in a quarry…one will never know! The club is the dress that is frayed at the edges and is grimed in the mire of the season’s predicaments but the cartoon show is calling out for cunning application, resourceful endeavour and a pinch of ‘poke in the eye’ willpower. Only Moyes and the players can deliver that now…every man to rise up off cushioned pew to stand tall with chests puffed out, leaning forward and feet dug into the mud. On the front foot, on the charge and ready to defend all quarters if required to do so!

Whilst there are undoubted issues with the club ownership, the stadium and the financial fog that no-one can turn a blind eye too, it is incumbent upon all fans to put aside these thoughts during the ninety minutes plus stoppage time, that seemed to disappear in the last encounter, and rally together in one unified voice to cheer on the team, support them as only West Ham fans can and give them the encouragement they may feel has been lacking for some time. There has to be that reconnection with the players and the team…fans to place their bids and the players to place theirs.

It cannot be a Saturday cartoon anymore! No more ‘Daffy Duck’, ‘Road Runner’ or ‘Woody Wood Pecker’…We need the canny bunny in the tatty tutu to lead the way into victory and onto glory…if only until the season ends. “That’s All Folks!”


Jon Pope

By Jon Pope

Use to sit in the BML for 10 years, been a West Ham fan all my life, and my great grandfather was a founder member of the TIW. I also help run the Hammer Chat website.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.